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There are many different types of castles with available accommodations. In the traditional sense, a castle is a defensive structure seen as one of the main symbols of the Middle Ages. The term has a history of scholarly debate surrounding its exact meaning, but it is usually regarded as being distinct from the general terms fort or fortress in that it describes a building which serves as a residence of a mediaeval monarch or noble and commands a specific territory.
Similar constructions in Russia (Kremlin) and feudal Japan (Shiro) are also considered castles.
The word Castle comes from the Latin word castellum meaning "fortress". This is a diminutive of the word castrum, which means "fortified place". The word "castle" (castel) was introduced into English shortly before the Norman Conquest to denote this type of fortress, then new to England, brought in by the Norman knights. In Spain, a fortified dwelling on a height for the administering authority retains its Moorish name of alcázar, whilst shiro also figure prominently in Japanese history.
A French castle is a château-fort, for in French a simple château connotes a grand country house at the heart of an estate, with non-military, purely residential function. When European castles were opened up and expanded into pleasure dwellings and power houses from the late 15th century, their "castle" designations, relics of the feudal age, often remained attached to the dwelling, resulting in many non-military castles and châteaux.
In Germany there are two names for what would be called a castle in English, Burg and Schloss. A Burg is a medieval structure of military significance, while a Schloss was built after the Middle Ages as a palace and not for defensive purposes. However, these are not usually palaces in the French style, but instead are styled on medieval mountain castles and fairytale notions, and from all appearances are often castles to an English speaker.
In Celtic countries, Caer or castell (Welsh), dún and caisleán (Irish), dùn and caisteal (Scots Gaelic) are used.